Belfast Officials Move Forward With Nordic Aquafarms Fish Farm Proposal Despite Lawsuit

Belfast Planning Board members this week began reviewing the proposal from Nordic Aquafarms after they determined that, despite a legal challenge to the land-based salmon farm, they can move forward with processing its application.

The board also decided who would be granted status as a “party in interest” and heard criticism from an attorney representing project opponents. The three-hour regular meeting Monday was the first of many opportunities for the planning board and the public to deliberate the nearly 2,000-page applicationfor the large land-based salmon farm, by any measure one of the most complicated and controversial projects in recent Belfast history.

But first they had to vote on whether Nordic Aquafarms had provided evidence of sufficient right, title and interest to access the intertidal land where it plans to place intake and outfall pipes to get to and from Penobscot Bay. The Norwegian-owned company is facing a civil lawsuit over whether it has the legal right to the intertidal land in question, but City Attorney Bill Kelly told the board that they do not have to be experts in complex legal matters. They just have to determine whether the company has provided sufficient evidence of right, title and interest to take the next step.

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